623 C623 Caught Red Handed

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Returning through the star-shaped portal, Peter found himself in the familiar confines of his living room. The warmth of home embraced him, contrasting heavily with the tense atmosphere of his recent battles.

At the center of the room, MJ sat on the couch, cradling a sleeping Leo in her arms. Tear streaks adorned the child's face, causing a knot of concern to form in Peter's stomach.

As the portal closed behind him, Miles and Tobey stood by his side, their expressions of curiosity. They exchanged glances, silently acknowledging the fact that they were now in Peter's universe, which was quite exciting. After all, the mystery of Peter and his crazy powers have been a huge topic of discussion for them ever since they all met.

"Hey, MJ," Peter greeted, his voice softened. "What happened here?" He gestured towards Leo, whose small form seemed fragile in MJ's protective embrace.

MJ sighed, her eyes reflecting a mix of exhaustion and understanding. "It's complicated," she replied, offering a weary smile. "Are you alright now?" Her gaze met Peter's, a subtle worry lingering in her eyes. The last time she had seen him, he was unconscious after undergoing multiple evolutions, leaving without a word when he woke.

"Yeah, I'm fine," Peter reassured her, a twinge of guilt in his tone. "Sorry about leaving so abruptly." He said sincerely, motioning to the people beside him. "They needed some help, and I had to go quickly."

MJ nodded, her expression showing that she was accustomed to Peter's unpredictable schedule. "It's okay. I'm used to it by now." She glanced at Leo, her fingers gently tracing the tear stains on his cheeks. "But something happened with Leo, which we should probably talk about before you run off again..."

Peter's eyes focused on the sleeping child, concern deepening. "What happened?" he asked, his voice a blend of worry and curiosity.

"He had a huge tantrum and then cried himself to sleep," MJ explained, her voice carrying a hint of sadness. "I tried to comfort him, but he kept asking for you."

Peter sighed, realizing how attached the little guy was to him. Turning to Miles and Tobey, Peter said, "Go find Gwen. We've got some things to sort out. I'll try to be quick since we need to rescue Ben after this…"

As Peter spoke, MJ tilted her head towards the stairs. "Gwen's upstairs, in one of the guest rooms," she informed them.

Miles and Tobey exchanged glances before heading upstairs to find Gwen, leaving Peter alone with MJ and the sleeping Leo.

Peter took a seat beside MJ, his eyes never leaving Leo's face. "What exactly happened when I was away?" he asked, genuine concern etched on his features.

MJ sighed, leaning into Peter's shoulder. "The girls said a bit too much..."

————

As Peter and MJ delved into the details of Leo's tantrum, Miles and Tobey made their way upstairs, their senses guiding them to a closed door. Ready to knock and surprise Gwen with their arrival, Miles froze as he caught wind of an intriguing conversation taking place behind the door.

Gwen's voice resonated from the room, engaged in what seemed to be a multiversal phone call. Her tone was measured, as if carefully choosing her words, while the voice on the other end belonged to someone familiar both Miles and Tobey… Miguel O'Hara.

Miguel's voice cut through the air, his questions probing into Gwen's recent activities.

"...just staying at Peter's place," Gwen explained, her words audible through the door. "He's not giving me much information, though. And he's not even here right now…"

Miles and Tobey exchanged wary glances, their curiosity piqued. The situation felt tense as they continued eavesdropping, realizing that Gwen might not be as trustworthy as they thought. The loyalty they assumed she had toward Peter seemed to be in question.

"So, what's the deal with Peter?" Miguel's voice demanded, his curiosity unyielding. "Has he made his intentions clear yet?"

Gwen hesitated before answering, "Not really, all I know is he thinks the Society is either evil or misguided somehow. I don't have all the details yet..."

As the conversation unfolded, Miles and Tobey realized that Gwen seemed to have aligned herself with Miguel and the Spider-Society. The same Society that currently held Ben captive, though Miguel didn't seem to be mentioning that to her…

Their unease grew as Gwen divulged information about Peter's recent activities. Frowns marked both of their faces, but Miles was the most affected, his hands tightening into fists.

When Miguel inquired about Peter's plans, Gwen paused, her inner conflict palpable through the door. "I'm not sure. Like I said, he didn't tell me much. But if you want more information, I'll try to find out."

The tension in the room escalated as Miguel ordered Gwen to gather as much intel on Peter as possible before returning to the society by the next day. "I need all hands on deck…" He said, the reason for this urgency remaining undisclosed, leaving both Miles and Tobey on edge.

"Why the rush?" Gwen questioned, her tone betraying a hint of frustration.

Miguel didn't even bother responding, leaving the room in an unsettling silence as the call ended. "…"

Gwen sighed audibly, her internal conflict evident. She sat on the edge of the bed, torn between her loyalty to Peter, who had always been nothing but kind to her, and the organization that took her in after the falling out with her father, who tried to arrest her.

Gwen's internal turmoil echoed in the room as she grappled with the consequences of being a member of the Spider-Society. The weight of her conflicting loyalties pressed upon her, leaving her uncertain about the path she had chosen.

In the midst of her contemplation, suddenly, the door swung open abruptly, and Gwen's eyes widened in surprise. Miles and Tobey stood there, their expressions a mix of disappointment and disapproval. She expected a friendly greeting, but their frowns revealed that they had overheard her conversation with Miguel.

"So, you're spying on Peter now?" Miles' voice cut through the silence, his tone laced with disappointment. "How could you, Gwen? He's our friend. He's done nothing but help us ever since we met..."

Gwen's attempt to utter a greeting faltered as she realized the gravity of the situation. Miles continued, his tone unwelcoming, "How could you even trust that guy Miguel? You know what he does, right? He makes sure innocent people die. I wouldn't be surprised if he's killed them himself... All for his precious 'Canon Events.'"

Caught off guard, Gwen sputtered, attempting to explain herself, "But the canon events need-"

Seeing where this conversation was going, Miles interrupted her, his voice rising. "Fuck this canon event bullshit! Have you even tried to investigate if all of that is true or not? Or did you just take Miguel's word for it and start ruining people's lives?"

Gwen remained silent, the weight of Miles' accusations settling heavily on her conscience. His words struck a chord, exposing her blind trust in Miguel, and the Spider-Society as a whole.

Miles's stern gaze intensified, and he continued, "Look, I get it. The Spider Society is amazing. Hell, when Miguel tried to recruit me, I almost fell for his lies myself. But I would have never expected you to believe him so easily. And I especially wouldn't expect you to be betraying Peter like this…"

Gwen looked down at the ground, her guilt evident. She muttered a quiet, "I'm sorry..."

Without further acknowledgment, Miles turned on his heels and walked out of the room, leaving Gwen alone with only a few final words. "Don't apologize to me. Apologize to Peter."

Tobey, lingering behind as Miles walked off, offered a few words of encouragement, "If you're truly sorry and want to make up for your actions, then come downstairs and explain everything."

He turned and followed Miles, leaving Gwen to face the consequences of her choices. As the door closed behind them, Gwen was left with a heavy decision… to continue down a path of betrayal or to seek redemption by confronting the truth with her friends and hope for forgiveness.

'If I tell the truth, then I'll have to tell the whole truth…' She thought, her mind wandering to Miles and his father.

————

As MJ finished recounting Leo's emotional outburst, Peter turned to her with a soft smile. "We'll talk to Leo when I get back and explain everything," he suggested, attempting to reassure MJ. "Sadly, the girls have ruined the surprise, but I'm sure he'll enjoy the good news…"

MJ returned the smile, her expression reflecting a mixture of gratitude and understanding. The weight of the situation lingered in the room, but they couldn't dwell on it for long as Miles stormed down the stairs, clearly upset about something.

"What's wrong, Miles?" Peter inquired, concern etched on his features.

Before Miles could answer, Tobey descended the stairs, placing a hand on Miles' shoulder and advising him to wait. "Gwen should explain herself," Tobey insisted, urging patience.

Miles raised an eyebrow, curiosity and frustration evident in his demeanor. Everyone turned their attention to the staircase as the sound of footsteps echoed, revealing Gwen's descent. Her guilty air was palpable, and she stopped at the bottom of the stairs, meeting the gaze of those in the room.

"…" Gwen hesitated, freezing in place, the internal struggle evident in her eyes. The room awaited her words, holding its breath for the unraveling of the truth.

Soon enough, Gwen's eyes flickering between Miles and Peter, struggling to look them in the eyes, especially after the verbal thrashing that she just experienced upstairs. "I'm… I'm sorry..." She immediately apologized, a simple yet weighty admission of her actions. The room fell into an uneasy silence, waiting for an explanation or a path to redemption.

Peter, sensing the tension, tilted his head to the side, his expression a blend of confusion and concern. "What's this about?" He wondered, 'Is she going to tell Miles about his father?'

A/N: 1673 words :)

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